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MADD Statement on Passage of RIDE Act Provisions in Bill Passed by Senate Commerce Committee

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Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) applauds the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee leadership of Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-MS) for passing a provision requiring advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology in all future new cars as part of the Surface Transportation Investment Act that was approved today by the committee.

At the start of today’s markup hearing, Senator Cantwell thanked Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) and Rick Scott (R-FL) for sponsoring the bipartisan Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act (RIDE) Act (S. 1331). Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) also are co-sponsors of the bill, which has now become part of the Surface Transportation Investment Act.

“The RIDE Act is truly a reflection of the hard work by victims of drunk driving along with the incredible commitment by MADD’s champions in the Senate who share our determination to eliminate drunk driving forever,” said MADD National President Alex Otte. “This vote today marks the beginning of the end of drunk driving in America, and we cannot thank enough Senators Cantwell, Wicker, Luján, Scott, Peters and Capito – and the entire committee – for honoring victims whose grief motivates them to make sure no one else will ever have to suffer the same pain they have.”

Equipping all vehicles with advanced drunk driving prevention technology would save 9,400 lives a year, according to a 2020 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The RIDE Act provisions adopted today in the surface transportation bill would initiate a technology-neutral U.S. Department of Transportation rulemaking process leading to a new national safety standard requiring advanced drunk driving prevention technology as standard equipment in new vehicles in a few years.

“MADD has identified 241 examples of existing technologies that could prevent drunk and impaired driving, such as technologies that monitor driver and driving behavior,” Otte said. “We have complete confidence that the auto manufacturers can get this technology on all new cars within the timeline in this legislation and start saving lives.”

In 2019, more than 10,000 people were killed and 300,000 others were injured in drunk driving crashes in the U.S. Despite the massive drop in vehicle miles traveled in 2020, alcohol-related traffic deaths jumped by 9 percent last year, according to report issued this month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

A companion bipartisan bill in the U.S. House of Representatives – the Honoring Abbas Family Legacy to Terminate (HALT) Drunk Driving Act (HR 2138) – is sponsored by Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), David McKinley (R-WV), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Kathy Castor (D-FL).

Contact: Becky Iannotta, 202.600.2032, [email protected]

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